This may become the Year of the
were doing a pretty good job of keeping the East Coast ski resorts
in business in the early part of the season, with Mother Nature not
doing her part.
While the New
York Times reported on Dec. 16 that Alpine ski resorts were
struggling to stay open in the warmest winter the Alps have seen in
1,250 years, things appeared less dire in the U.S. Resort spokesmen
from Maine to New York reported good, though spring-like, ski
conditions and relatively few cancellations at resorts for the
Christmas holiday, although rooms were still available at some
can be a challenge to get skiers in the mood if they're
experiencing temperatures in the 50-degree range a week before
responded to that challenge by hosting special events or
advertising to counter perceptions that the slopes are
public relations manager for New Hampshire's Bretton Woods ski area
and the Mount Washington Hotel, said the resort, with 13 of 101
trails open, is seeing a "steady stream" of skiers but that the
hotel's bookings are "down a little" for Christmas when the hotel
is typically full.
For later dates,
bookings are down some, but it's hard to judge because so many
travelers book close to arrival, she said.
"It is not what
we want, but we are in pretty good shape," said Wilson.
director of communications for Sunday River in Maine, said the
resort was making up for a lack of snowfall with man-made snow, but
bookings at the accommodations were "not where they would
River benefits from a reputation for snow-making, Kaufman said, it
remains a key challenge to get that word out more
communications manager for Mount Snow in Vermont, said the ski area
had "top-to-bottom terrain," thanks to man-made snow. He said that
bookings had been good, but not great.
"We are missing
goals," Lenois said.
challenge, he said, is changing the perception that skiing is not
available during a season of little snow.
The American Ski
Co., owner of Mount Snow and Sunday River as well as Killington in
Vermont and Sugarloaf in Maine, has placed recently taken videos
and photos of skiers on its Web pages to make the point that skiers
are on the slopes in the Northeast.
41 of 200 trails open, was gearing up snow-making as temperatures
began to fall just before Christmas, in order to increase its
have been "very strong," there was still availability for the
holiday, said Tom Horrocks, the resort's communications
meanwhile, was making snow 24 hours a day. The resort was "close to
where we want to be," with some hotel availability going into
Christmas, said Bill Swain, communications manager.
director of communications for the Olympic Regional Development
Authority in Lake Placid, N.Y., cheerily reported, "We're doing
snow dances here."
No doubt they're
dancing in front of the snow-making machines. While the area
villages have no snow, nine of 75 trails are open on Whiteface
Mountain, near Lake Placid. Caligiore said skiers could descend
from the top of Little Whiteface, which gives them 2,500 vertical
feet for skiing and snowboarding.
Lake Placid, site
of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, offers other winter
activities: Visitors can ice skate, go bobsledding and use the luge
run, all of which are refrigerated, Caligiore said.
In any case, he
said that bookings at the mountain, including those for ski classes
and child care, were up 24% for the holidays compared with 2005,
partly because of the variety of activities and because Whiteface's
facilities for children have been expanded.
When the talk
turns to alternative activities, operators of cross-country
facilities relate because they have little else to fall back on
when there's a lack of snowfall.
At the Mountain
Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vt., most holiday bookings held
firm for the inn, said Diane Dickerman, director of marketing and
public relations. The property, which offers cross-country skiing
only, can keep these customers when the weather doesn't cooperate
because their visits are about the family holiday as much as about
skiing. Some go to nearby Killington to hit the slopes.
planning indoor and outdoor activities. The horse-drawn sleigh,
which has tires as well as runners, is operating.
business, Dan Sherman, the director of marketing communications for
Ski.com, said sales were "kind of flat," such as bookings to
Chamonix, in the French Alps.
A lack of snow,
and a weak dollar, both have contributed to flat sales, he
There is plenty
of snow in the West. Anna Olson, communications director at
Wyoming's Jackson Hole resort, said the area had gotten 30 inches
of new snow by the middle of December. "When the snow comes, the
phones ring," Olsen said. "And they're ringing."
But do the
resorts in the Rockies benefit when the snow doesn't fall in the
Olson said, "the industry does well when all get their fair share
The Rockies may
benefit if skiers from the East Coast head West for snow, but "it
is not black and white," she said.
Skiers may look
around at the lack of snow in their neighborhood, forget winter and
head to a beach, said Olsen.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].